December 21, 2016 –
Prayer Petitions: 24 December 2016
ACT PALESTINE FORUM
PRAYER VIGIL FOR PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST
24TH of every month
Every day in the month ahead, we continue to pray with and for our sisters and brothers in Palestine and Israel who have called for an ecumenical prayer vigil across the globe on the 24th of every month.
APF encourages its friends and partners to visit the APF website and APF Facebook page often to find, and also contribute, updates, photos, stories, advocacy ideas, and special prayers.
A special thanks to the Kairos Palestine for contributing to this month’s prayers.
ACT Palestine Forum Prayers
24 December 2016
A Message of Hope
Kairos Palestine is a Christian Palestinian movement which advocates for ending the Israeli occupation and achieving a just solution to the conflict. In 2009, Kairos Palestine issued the Kairos Document “A Moment of Truth: A Word of Faith, Hope, and Love from the Heart of Palestinian Suffering”, which calls on the international community to stand in solidarity with the people of Palestine against the Israeli occupation. The Kairos Palestine Christmas Alert 2016 is a reflection on the seasons of Advent and Christmas. It contains scripture, prayers, reflections, and updates that remind us of the realities of life under military occupation, especially the injustices faced by children of Palestine. However, it also contains a message of hope. This Christmas, let us remember the good news proclaimed to the shepherds in Bethlehem and turn our hearts toward love, justice, and peace for Palestine.
SCRIPTURE: Luke 2:1-12
In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman World. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you; you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” When the angel had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.
“What is the Meaning of Hope” – Kairos Palestine Document, Chapter 3.2
Hope within us means first and foremost our faith in God and secondly our expectation, despite everything, for a better future. Thirdly, it means not chasing after illusions – we realize that release is not close at hand. Hope is the capacity to see God in the midst of trouble, and to be co-workers with the Holy Spirit who is dwelling in us. From this vision derives the strength to be steadfast, remain firm and work to change the reality in which we find ourselves. Hope means not giving in to evil but rather standing up to it and continuing to resist it. We see nothing in the present or future except ruin and destruction. We see the upper hand of the strong, the growing orientation towards racist separation and the imposition of laws that deny our existence and our dignity. We see the confusion and division in the Palestinian position. If, despite all this, we do resist this reality today and work hard, perhaps the destruction that looms on the horizon may not come upon us.
PRAYERS: H.B. Patriarch Michael Sabbah
Thank you, O Lord, for coming among us.
Humbly, you wanted to become our companion on earth,
The earth rejoiced, and the angels chanted in the sky:
“Glory to God in the highest and peace on earth for all people of peace.”
Thank you, Lord, for coming among us in our land.
Yet, Lord, we are in war.
Save us from the spirit of war and death.
Lord, we rejoice in the day of your Nativity,
We rejoice because you came to live with us.
To you we raise our prayers. Take away war from your land.
To you O Lord, on this Christmas day, we raise our prayers for our children.
Grant them peace and fill them with the joy of Christmas, and Peace.
Lord, keep them away from death prevailing in our land.
Death is part of their life too. They too are killed.
O Lord, have mercy on them and fill them with your love.
O Lord, remove war and death from the hearts of their jailers and those who kill them.
Fill the hearts of those also with the joy of Christmas. Renew their hearts and the face of our
O Lord, you said: Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them.
Do not put death in their life; do not deprive them of love.
Protect their childhood and innocence. Keep them among us as angels of peace;
Angels who love and do not hate.
Though war killed them also, destroyed their humanity, and filled their hearts with war, death and hatred. No one incites them. No one speaks to them about war. Yet their daily life is full with war.
Their daily bread is war. In their parent’s eyes they see pain and war, a war imposed upon them. In the absence of loved ones: a father, a brother or sister, they knew death.
You came to give us and give them love and abundant life, Life with light and joy, free of darkness and hate. Lord, give us the joy of life and love. Give the joy of life and love to those who obstinately want us to remain in war, death, under occupation and humiliation.
For more information on the work of Kairos Palestine, visit www.kairospalestine.ps
A printable version of this month’s Prayer Vigil can be found here.